Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Review: River Road by Suzanne Johnson

Hello! Hope you are all fantastically well...I've been up since 4.30am in order to get to work so naturally my day could have started better ;) but anyway...today I'm part of a tour for Suzanne Johnson's newest release RIVER ROAD! Now, I don't know how many of you have read book 1 in the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street) but I did and I really enjoyed it...so when I was offered the opportunity to review book 2, I jumped at the chance! Later today there will also be an Interview + Giveaway with the marvellous lady herself, Suzanne Johnson, plus your chance to win some amazing goodies! Well then, what are we waiting for? Lets crack on!

Title: River Road
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Publisher: Headline (UK) | Tor Books (US)
Release Date: 22nd November 2012 (UK)* | 13th November 2012 (US)
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans Series, book 2
Source: I received an ARC of this book via Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
*kindle edition

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.
Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.
It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

First line: 'The minute hand of the ornate grandfather clock crept like a gator stuck in swamp mud. I’d been watching it for half an hour, nursing a fizzy cocktail from my perch inside the Hotel Monteleone.'
First of all, I have to have a little cover love right here! As much as I loved ROYAL STREET'S cover I think I may like this one more, if it's possible. I'm liking the fact that Charlie is featured (a.k.a. DJ's mysterious glowing elven staff) because that is the aspect of the series that intrigues me the most, what is Charlie, where did he come from...and why can DJ wield him? I'm glad to say that some of these questions are looking a little closer to being completely answered...but I won't spoil it so moving on...As I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed the first book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, and I enjoyed RIVER ROAD even more! The few niggles I had with book 1 are straightened out and I got to watch the characters I loved so much grow even more...they're worming their way into my heart ;)

This chapter of the Sentinels of New Orleans series takes place 3 years after the events of ROYAL STREET, and thereby 3 years after Katrina. Drusilla Jaco (DJ) is the Sentinel Wizard for New Orleans, meaning her and her partner Alex keep the supernatural world in line and settle any disputes...disputes such as the war looming between two rival clans of Merpeople inhabiting the rivers of New Orleans. Someone has poisoned the river, causing members of both clans to become ill. Naturally, they blame each other. On the one side we have Rene Delachaise, the smooth talking, incredibly handsome leader of the Delachaise clan...and on the other Denis Villere, the grumpy old, shotgun toting leader of the Villere clan. This dispute allows the reader to really see how much DJ has obviously grown into her role as sentinel over the last three years though you can see that the events of Royal Street still way heavily on her. The death and betrayal of Gerry, her mentor and biological father still hits her hard. DJ is just waiting for everyone around her to leave, as they have done before..no-one has stayed around her for long. The longest was Gerry...and that didn't exactly end well. No, DJ still can give herself 100% to someone else because of that deep seated fear of abandonment. That being said, she's smart, funny and ready to kick butt if necessary ..but if that can be avoided by say, buying hundreds of dollars worth of seafood then that's what she'll do ;)

A dark braid flew above the fray before a hand grabbed it and used it for leverage to throw a punch. Denis Villere had indeed appeared from somewhere, and he and one of the twins— Rene, I thought— were beating the crap out of each other. Libby played the role of wanton cheerleader. Jean struggled to separate them, and ended up with a fist to his nose. Instead of stopping the fight, he shouted French epithets
I couldn't understand, and decked Denis with a powerful round house punch. Great. The three men separated briefly before Denis took another lunge at Jean, Rene tried to get between  them, and all three toppled over the side of the boat with a leviathan splash.
I briefly considered letting them kill each other. It would solve all kinds of problems— Rene and Denis would be out of my hair, and Jean would go back to the Beyond to lick his wounds a couple of weeks before coming back good as new. But then the war would just mutate to Robert and T-Jacques.

Not only do DJ and Alex have to deal with murderous Merpeople but wizards are dying along the banks of the river, Green Congress wizards, and it's up to the duo to tackle that as well. There is an almost perfect balance of magic and investigative work that compliment each other beautifully, Alex being the investigator and DJ being...well...the magic, even if it sometimes a tad destructive. We hear more from the Elders since they are not ready to let DJ handle sentinel without some supervision, especially with the newly relaxed border regulations between the Beyond and New Orleans. Plus Jean Laffite is still being a pain in DJ's backside...though admittedly a seriously sexy, French speaking, completely lickable pain ;)

Now, I can't quite work out if this next part is something I like, or if it just frustrates me. I STILL AM NOT 100% SURE WHO DJ IS DATING...IF ANYONE! It's like a love quadrangle...with more people possibly being added to it as I kept reading. The three main contenders as far as I can tell are:
1) Alex - DJ's partner and friend. The shapeshifter who helped her through what must have been the toughest year of her life...the time Gerry was missing and subsequently all the revelations and consequences. I don't know what Alex feels exactly, I think he feels something for DJ but isn't sure what to do about it. Though he does seem to become very jealous whenever DJ spends time with Jean Laffite, or Jake...or Rene...come to think of it, any male presence makes him jealous, that's got to mean something...right?
2) Jean Laffite - Now, I think Jean and Alex are the two main contenders for DJ's heart. Where Alex walks the straight and narrow, Jean...is well...Jean. He's a pirate. A 200 year old French speaking pirate, who doesn't know anything about modern technology and can't drive for shit...oh, and also has views on a woman's place that have no business being in the 21st centuary. That being said, daymn that man is hot! What I wouldn't give to have a gorgeous man whispering French in my ear...come on DJ!
3) Jake - Alex's cousin, the ex-marine and now Loup-Garou. After being bitten at the end of Royal Street, Jake's introduction to the preternatural was anything but smooth. As a werewolf, he blamed DJ for the events that lead to his turning...or at least, lying to him about what was really out there. Jake hadn't spoken to DJ since that night but he's back. I didn't know quite what to make of his return but he could still be one to watch in the race to woo the lovely DJ.

I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles, but I have to admit, this one is done pretty well...you don't get that cheesy feeling you do with some and you know what, I actually do like not knowing who DJ will end up with...keeps me guessing, and if we have to put up with hot men stripping off while we figure things out then I guess we'll just have to suffer ;)

Oh and one last thing to leave you with...this made me giggle so I thought I'd share :)

Alex stopped, sweeping his eyes from my face to where my feet balanced on the coffee table in their fuzzy blue socks. “What the hell are you wearing?”
I looked down at my black sleepshirt featuring the movie cast on the front and the pants emblazoned with Gryffindor logos. “Well, crap. Now the matching Harry Potter PJs I bought you for Christmas won’t be a surprise.”
Chuckling, he flopped on the sofa next to me. “I thought you hated Harry Potter.”
“I don’t hate Harry Potter. I am jealous of Harry Potter,” I said. “He can do too many cool things I can’t.”
I enjoyed RIVER ROAD, Suzanne Johnson has made it so that you become so invested in her world and characters that you want to jump straight into the book and save them all from harm! The series still has some aspects yet to be explored and I look forward to book 3 where hopefully all shall be revealed!

My Rating: 4/5  

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